Los Angeles News

Charter school debate goes before LAUSD

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A showdown over charter schools went before the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday. Some want tighter restrictions, but others argue it would violate state law.

The school board did not take any action on the proposal, but a revised version was expected to go before the board in October.

The LAUSD is the second largest school district in the country and has the most charter schools nationally at around 200 enrolling about 110,000 students. The district will take a look at a proposal that would declare a moratorium on new schools and tighten oversight of existing ones.

To do so, a measure would be introduced to form an independent charter oversight commission that would step up monitoring and would put a hold on new charter applications until new policies are hammered out.

Board members have shown increasing frustration with requests by charter schools to use more classroom space on district campuses, and refusals by charters to submit student data and the low enrollment of students with severe disabilities.

Charter school supporters say a moratorium would violate the Charter School Act and noted that 10,000 students are on charter school waiting lists in the LAUSD. Opponents of the proposal say this is a very serious challenge to one of the most successful school reform efforts of the last 20 years.

For the past year, several charter schools were closed by the district for financial irregularities, a cheating scandal and lackluster performance.

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